5th Circuit Upholds Texas Ban on Dismemberment Abortions

'Anyone can see the cruelty of...ripping a child’s body apart while her heart is still beating...'

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a district court’s ruling on Wednesday and decided that Texas may outlaw dismemberment abortions.

“Texas has the right to respect the life of unborn children, and it did so when it chose to strictly limit the gruesome procedure of dismemberment abortions,” said Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Elissa Graves, who filed a friend-of-the-court brief on Texas’ behalf.

A three-judge panel of the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had blocked enforcement of the law last year. But Texas sought, and was granted, a re-hearing by the full court.

A majority among the 14 appellate judges who heard arguments in January (three of the court’s 17 active judges were recused) sided with Texas.

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The case, Whole Woman’s Health v. Paxton, began after the Texas legislature passed Senate Bill 8, which bans abortion by “corporal dismemberment.”

The legislation describes procedure in which the abortionist bleeds the unborn baby to “death as his or her body is torn apart,” the Alliance Defending Freedom reported.

The Texas legislature passed the bill in 2017, but legal challenges from pro-abortion groups and injunctions from liberal judges immediately stalled the law’s enforcement.

Pro-abortion groups argued that the law prevents women from obtaining abortions in the most systematic and “safe” fashion.

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Abortionists call the procedure “evacuation and dilation” and commonly use it during the third to sixth months of pregnancies, the Associated Press reported.

The Fifth Circuit Court majority opinion, written by judges Jennifer Walker Elrod and Don Willett, said “the record shows that doctors can safely perform D&Es and comply with SB8 using methods that are already in widespread use.”

“Texans celebrate today’s long-awaited victory,” said Texas Right to Life Director of Media and Communication Kimberlyn Schwartz. “Anyone can see the cruelty of dismemberment abortions, ripping a child’s body apart while her heart is still beating. We’re grateful the judges recognized this horror.”

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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